How to Interpret the Jobs Report

Friday’s jobs report for September showed a decrease in monthly gains, with 263,000 new jobs added last month, a decline from the prior month in which 315,000 new jobs were added.

The deep impact it had on almost every asset class in the financial markets was not because of the tepid numbers but rather hopes by the Federal Reserve that these numbers would be even lower.

Bloomberg Jobs Graph

The Federal Reserve had hoped that Friday’s report would reveal even slower growth because that would indicate progress by the Federal Reserve in reducing inflation.

Inflation is still greatly elevated at a 40-year high even after the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates at every FOMC meeting since March. The Fed raised rates by 25 basis points in March, 50 basis points in May, and 75 basis points in June, July, and September. The Fed took their benchmark Fed funds rate from between 0 and 25 basis points in February to between 300 and 325 basis points in September.

Although Friday’s report indicated slowing job growth it is believed that this contraction is not enough for the Federal Reserve to slow down its current pace of interest-rate hikes. Continue reading "How to Interpret the Jobs Report"

Strong Jobs Report Abates Fears of Recession

Last week, the jobs report was released. Economists were expecting an additional 258,000 new jobs added last month. The Labor Department’s report revealed that the U.S. economy has had robust job growth last month adding over 500,000 jobs in July.

The exceedingly strong numbers of the report diminished concerns about the United States entering a recession. While this optimistic report bodes well for economic growth, it certainly does not address inflation.

However, it does change market sentiment which had been intensely focused on the last two GDP reports. On July 28 the government released the advance estimate of the second quarter GDP. The report revealed that the GDP had decreased at an annual rate of 0.9% during the second quarter of 2022.

Earlier this year the BEA reported a decrease in the first quarter GDP of 1.6%. The widely accepted definition of a recession is an economic contraction over two consecutive quarters. Continue reading "Strong Jobs Report Abates Fears of Recession"

Is The Worker Shortage Transitory?

For the past several months, there have been two "T" words that have captivated the financial markets.

The first, of course, is the "Taper," which now looks like it may be starting as early as next month. Following its September monetary policy meeting, the Federal Reserve—using its usual weasel words—didn't exactly say it was ready to taper, but basically confirmed that it would begin soon, saying that "a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted." So we can probably expect the Fed to provide more definite information following its next meeting in early November, and that may include a start date of later that month.

The second "T" word is "Transitory," as in the "inflation is transitory" mantra Fed chair Jerome Powell has been repeating for most of 2021. However, recently he's backed off a little on that stance, telling Congress last month that while he believes inflation will eventually return to the Fed's 2% target rate, "these effects have been larger and longer-lasting than anticipated." In other words, maybe inflation isn't as transitory as he says, therefore the need to taper.

Now, after two crummy monthly job reports in a row, it may be fair to ask if the shortage of workers holding back the economy isn't transitory either. Continue reading "Is The Worker Shortage Transitory?"

Will We See The Fed In September?

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates


It took less than two days last week for the financial markets to disabuse themselves of the notion that the Federal Reserve, this time, is really, truly, absolutely kind of serious about raising interest rates at its next meeting in September.

On Wednesday afternoon the Fed, as expected, left interest rates unchanged for the fifth straight monetary policy meeting since first raising rates last December, which was supposed to usher in a gradual process of rate “normalization” this year. As we know, of course, the Fed hasn’t followed through on that, finding one justification after another – rising oil prices, falling oil prices, weak Chinese economic growth, weak U.S. economic growth, Brexit, you name it – to delay the day of reckoning.

In last week’s post-meeting announcement, the Fed dropped several hints that might cause some people, even reasonable ones, to conclude that a rate increase might be in the offing at its next meeting in September. Continue reading "Will We See The Fed In September?"

Jobs Report Not Enough to Signal September Liftoff

George Yacik - INO.com Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates


Was May's better-than-expected jobs report strong enough to convince the Federal Reserve to start interest rate liftoff in September?

Based on the market's reaction on Friday, the answer sure looks like yes. Yields on long-term U.S. Treasury bonds spiked to their highest levels since last October, and stocks were mostly lower.

But let's not carried away with one number and one report. Certainly the data-paralyzed Fed won't. If we get three solid months of positive economic statistics, then I’ll think there's a chance – albeit a slim one – the Fed will make a move in September. Until then, we'll have to wait and see.

Notice I've already written off next week's Fed meeting as the first interest rate increase. While the minutes of the Fed's April 28-29 monetary policy meeting "did not rule out" the possibility of raising rates at the June meeting, it was "unlikely" that economic data would justify doing so by then. Nothing's happened in the meantime to change that. Continue reading "Jobs Report Not Enough to Signal September Liftoff"